BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: Sport: Motorsport
Front Page 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

David Coulthard
"On impact the plane's wing tanks ruptured"
 real 28k

Jackie Stewart, former world champion
"Racing drivers are unusual animals"
 real 28k

Thursday, 4 May, 2000, 15:40 GMT 16:40 UK
Coulthard's pilot tribute
David Coulthard walked away unscathed from the crash
David Coulthard has offered his "heartfelt sympathies" to the families of the two pilots who died in the air crash from which he escaped unhurt.

In a brief statement, the 29-year-old Scot said there was little he could do, when the plane crash landed at Lyon airport on Tuesday.

When the plane came to rest the front of the cockpit had completely broken free.

David Coulthard
Coulthard survived, along with his fiancée and personal trainer, after the plane developed engine problems en route from Farnborough to Nice.

In a statement, Coulthard said: "First of all I would like to express our heartfelt sympathies for the families of the two pilots who behaved in the utmost professional manner throughout the incident.

Coulthard is determined to do well in this weekend's Grand Prix
"During the flight the co-pilot informed us that we had an engine problem and that we had to make an emergency landing at Lyon airport which was about 10 minutes away.

"We had time to prepare ourselves for the landing and got into the brace position. On impact the plane's wing tanks ruptured on the right-hand side and caught light.

"When the plane came to rest the front of the cockpit had completely broken free.

"Once we were all out I immediately returned to the aircraft to see if there was anything I could do for the pilots. But there was nothing I could do and within a minute the emergency services had arrived to take over."

Coulthard: I will drive

Coulthard reiterated his desire to race in Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix, adding: "I appreciate there is a lot of media and public interest in the incident.

"But my profession is motor racing and now I want the focus on this grand prix and trying to win the world championship."

David is a consummate professional and as a dedicated Formula One driver he is in good physical and mental shape. We know this will allow him to recover.

McLaren statement
McLaren chief Ron Dennis said: "As always we operate as a team and David, Heidi and Andy are a very important part of that team.

"Whilst we are in Barcelona supporting them and helping David concentrate on the forthcoming grand prix, our thoughts are with the families of the pilots."

In a statement, McLaren said: "The West McLaren Mercedes team would like to send their condolences to the families of the two pilots, David Saunders and Dan Worley, who tragically lost their lives whilst piloting the plane carrying David Coulthard, his fiancee Heidi Wichlinski and trainer Andy Matthews.

"As a Formula One team we are used to dealing with highly complex technical data. We therefore appreciate that until all the information from the accident at Lyon airport on 2 May has been appraised it is impossible to make judgements relating to a possible cause.

"David is co-operating fully with the French authorities and will provide them with any information he possesses which might prove vital to their investigation.

"The team's focus at the moment is to create an environment that will allow both David Coulthard and Mika Hakkinen to perform at their optimum and in their usual professional manner at this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix."

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
See also:

03 May 00 | Scotland
Coulthard will race in Spain
04 May 00 | Scotland
Coulthard: I was lucky to survive
02 May 00 | Motorsport
Coulthard: Scotland's fastest man
23 Apr 00 | Motorsport
Silverstone glory for Coulthard
10 Apr 00 | Motorsport
Schumacher's flying start
Links to other Motorsport stories are at the foot of the page.